The innocuous-sounding press release Friday by the State Department in Washington on the ‘Sentencing of Nabeel Rajab’ came as a surprise. It seemed the US broke its stony silence, finally, to condemn the appalling human rights record of its close Persian Gulf ally — Bahrain.
However, it cannot be that the US is piling pressure for ‘regime change’ in Bahrain, which is where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.
So, why this press release? Why Rajab when scores of Shias were brutally killed while agitating for reform in Bahrain and Washington simply looked away?
The point is, it’s all about Twitter. Rajab’s “crime” was that he twitted about Bahrain’s all-powerful, Saudi-backed autocratic prime minister. And he was given a 3-year sentence even before his lawyers could represent him. Rajab had over 1.5 lakhs followers on Twitter.
Indeed, the social networking sites belonging to US-based companies are increasingly playing a role as tools of the US’ Middle East policies. So, the message from the State Department is, “Don’t touch the Internet.”
By the way, India too just got a mouthful from the US on this account. This, when the MHA boys are apparently seeking American help to track down the dissemination of erroneous information via social networking sites that disturbs social harmony in India. What naivety!
Posted in Politics.
– August 22, 2012